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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT - LAMONDANCE (DAVI RODRIGUES)

"WHEN YOU SEE PEOPLE, SMILE AT THEM. GIVE A SMILE TO SOMEBODY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIFE. TELL PEOPLE THEY'RE BEAUTIFUL. BECAUSE THEY ARE. NO MATTER WHERE YOU'RE FROM OR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, PEOPLE NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THAT."

Lamondance is a contemporary training and performance company for emerging professional dancers, established in 2009 by Lara Barclay and Monica Proença. Led by artistic director Davi Rodrigues, the program offers dancers the opportunity to immerse themselves in high levels of technical training, original choreography, and the chance to study with accomplished teachers in a professional environment.

Their latest show, SPARK, is an assembly of choreography by International and Canadian choreographers as such as Lara Barclay, David Norsworthy, Shannon Moreno, Dario Dinuzzi and Davi Rodrigues, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed. The show is composed for 7 non-related creations linked only by the burst of spark; A diverse vocabulary of movement in the occupation and exploration of space. The company explores the concepts of discovery, limitation, memories, physical state, communication, reincarnation and above all, the power of energy.

I spoke with Davi Rodrigues before the show.

- Ronaldo Acuna

 

RONALDO

Tell me a little bit about SPARK.

DAVI

The show SPARK is about new possibilities and new beginnings. I have seven pieces by five different choreographers: Lara Barclay, Shannon Moreno, David Norsworthy, Dario Dinuzzi and myself. We have 11 dancers performing and one guest dancer who was in season one. We are in our seventh season of the program.

RONALDO

What are you most excited for?

DAVI

The audience reaction. We have been working really hard because the foundation and soul of the program is not only to train the dancers but also to create art and connect with the audience. The final product is the most important thing to us. At the end of the show, I want to look at you and see how you feel. When I go to watch a show or a concert and I don’t feel connected, I will go home empty. If I see something that is engaging, then I want more. I want to see more. To make people laugh or make people cry is the foundation of what we do.

RONALDO

You want to create shows to put people in the present moment - so that they’re affected by and feel what’s going on in front of them.

DAVI

Exactly.

RONALDO

What has been the biggest struggle you’ve had with the production of the show?

DAVI

It depends. There are several different points of view. As a choreographer, I had to give room to the guest choreographers. This is different from past seasons where I would do my whole choreography and then the other choreographers would come and finish the creation. I couldn’t here. I had to stop and start. They had to come in and do their own, and then I would get back to my own creation process. It was a challenge for me because I never did that before but it ended up working really well because I could take more time to do what I wanted to do.

We are going to show a video of the process of one of my creations. I decided to completely change my style. I always love to do a storyline that you can follow so that an audience member can view the whole thing and understand. This time, I did not want to do a storyline. It’s interesting because I have been working with Lamondance for seven years now and every show in the past I had to kill somebody on stage. Last season, I killed everybody. At the end of the show, the idea of the show was that everybody was dead.

RONALDO

Was that put on you? Or was that a personal choice?

DAVI

I don’t know. In another interview someone asked me: Why do you want to kill one person in your storylines? I don’t know. I believe in life and death. So this time, with my new creation, which is called Supernova, I didn’t want to do a storyline. I wanted to challenge myself. So nobody is dying today.

RONALDO

What is the most important thing you have learned through your time with Lamondance?

DAVI

That collaboration is the key. You cannot do anything on your own. You can have an idea but you need to be able to listen. You need to have an open mind. No matter what you do, even if what you think you’re doing is right, you need to listen to other people. Sometimes what you think is right is not right for that moment. So I learned that collaboration and listening is important. I came from Brazil. I had a company there for 15 years doing pretty much what I do here but there I was the director, choreographer, costume designer…

RONALDO

You did everything.

DAVI

Everything. And I was a dancer as well. So I got to a moment where I thought: “I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to dance.” I finished my project there and was kind of sad—the whole city was sad because we were rebelling. I needed to stop, and it was better to stop where we were at because we were in good shape. Then I got this invite to come to Canada to dance with Lamon. I swear to you it was only to be a dancer. Then they said: “Davi, I think you’re good at doing this.” I looked at myself and thought, “Am I doing this again?” But I think when you are meant to do something in life, you are meant to do it.

It has been a pleasure being with this company. Besides training the dancers and helping the dancers become professional dancers, I get to inspire people with my storylines, with these new concepts that are a part of the SPARK show. It makes me believe that everything is possible.

RONALDO

What are you most grateful for in your life right now?

DAVI

That’s a tough question. I’m a very grateful person. I'm very positive. One thing that I tell the dancers is I don’t want you to bring a heavy energy to the environment because it reflects in your work. I need you as a body. If there’s a block there I won’t be able to access you. I know my dancers really well. When I see someone, I can feel their energy and I just ask if everything is alright. You need to remind yourself that your energy affects others as well.

There have been some situations where I got overwhelmed, where I got heavy. I just wasn’t me. And then one of the dancers looked at me and asked if I was okay. And you know how you rewind a movie and remember the advice you give to others? I said: “Things will get better.” And I shifted my energy. So I’m very grateful to be in the environment I work in right now. It’s what makes me think I’m doing the right thing. I can do more and push more and pursue more possibilities. I’m a lucky person.

RONALDO

What are three things about life that you know to be true?

DAVI

Respect people, be grateful for everything you have and share love. When you see people, smile at them. Give a smile to somebody and make a difference in their life. Tell people they’re beautiful. Because they are. No matter from where you’re from or what you believe, people need to be reminded of that.


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